BJP will not field candidate for RS by-election, TMC’s Jawahar Sarkar is set to be elected unopposed

The BJP on Thursday announced that it would not field any candidate for a bypoll to a Rajya Sabha seat in West Bengal, paving the way for the ruling TMC candidate Jawahar Sarkar to be elected unopposed. Leader of Opposition in West Bengal Assembly Suvendu Adhikari said the saffron party will not nominate any candidate for the Rajya Sabha seat vacated by former TMC leader Dinesh Trivedi earlier this year.

“Today is the last date for nominations for the Rajya Sabha bypolls in West Bengal. BJP is not fielding any candidate on this seat. The outcome of the election is defined and known to all. Our fight against this irrational sarkar (government) will continue,” Nandigram’s BJP MLA Adhikari said on Twitter.

Sarkar, the former CEO of Prasar Bharati, had on Wednesday filed his nomination as a TMC candidate at the office of the Assembly Secretariat. West Bengal Parliamentary Minister and TMC General Secretary Partha Chatterjee were present on the occasion. Announcing his candidature on July 24, TMC had said, “Sarkar spent almost 42 years in public service… His contribution will help us serve our country even better.” The Election Commission had said that the by-election for the Rajya Sabha seat from West Bengal has fallen vacant. Trivedi earlier this year on August 9.

Trivedi had resigned from the upper house of Parliament in February and joined the BJP ahead of the last assembly elections. The Trinamool Congress has 213 and the BJP 77 in the 294-member assembly. TMC’s ally GJM has one. The CPI(M)-led Left Front and the Congress failed to open an account in the last assembly election, and their alliance partner Indian Secular Front (ISF) won only one seat. Meanwhile, a delegation of the Trinamool Congress Parliamentary Party with six MPs had met the Election Commission in New Delhi on July 15, demanding that bypolls to seven vacant seats in West Bengal be held at the earliest.

The TMC is looking forward to the bypolls as Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who lost the assembly election from Nandigram, will have to be elected in the next six months to continue as the CM. State minister Sovandeb Chattopadhyay had vacated the Bhabnipur seat to facilitate Banerjee’s election. The Dinhata and Shantipur assembly seats fell vacant after BJP leaders Nisith Pramanik and Jagannath Sarkar resigned as MLAs to retain their Lok Sabha membership. Voting could not be held in Samserganj and Jangipur in Murshidabad district due to death of candidates.

Bypolls to Khardah and Gosaba seats in North and South 24 Parganas respectively are due after the death of TMC’s Kajal Sinha and Jayant Naskar due to COVID-19.

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